TERRI’S LAW IN JEOPARDY: It looks like Terri’s Law is about to be struck down. Apparently it would violate her constitutional right to be
murdered by her husband left alone by the Florida Legislature.
ANAGRAMS FOR INFOTEL PUBLICATIONS:
A felon, but in politics
Polite, lunatic! No fibs!
John Scalzi is again defending Ted Rall (sort of). Scalzi, whom I generally like, and whose literacy drive I support and link to below, has the misfortune of being Rall’s friend. Scalzi has previously published a quasi-defense of Rall’s cartoon making fun of the surviving family members of those murdered by the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorists. (I say “quasi-defense” because Scalzi is always careful to say that he is not really defending Rall — but then he always seems to be sort of sticking up for the guy.)
Anyway, you will remember from my post below that the latest Ted Rall flap concerns his column in which he assumes the voice of an Iraqi soldier bent on killing Americans. Rall really seems to get into it, to the point where it’s difficult to separate the views of the “character” from the views held by Rall. Part of the problem is that you know that Rall agrees with much of what he has the soldier say. For instance, the Iraq war is referred to as “Dick Cheney’s cynical oil war” in which many “poor and uneducated” soldiers “do not understand that they are being used as pawns.” There is no doubt that Rall believes this.
After Rall has his soldier say these anti-American things — things that we know Ted Rall believes — Rall then has the soldier say more anti-American things, like this:
Unfortunately, we can’t help these innocent U.S. soldiers. They are victims, like ourselves, of the bandits in Washington. Nor can we disabuse them of the propaganda that an occupier isn’t always an oppressor. We regret their deaths, but we must continue to kill them until the last one has gone home to America.
You really have to wonder if Rall agrees with this point of view too. When you read the piece as a whole, it really sounds like he does. But Scalzi says people should not jump to that conclusion, and explains that Rall’s apparent desire to see American soldiers killed may be simply an “inflammatory rhetorical device.”
When I read Scalzi’s explanation, I thought to myself: what a great idea! Why not publish my own piece using an “inflammatory rhetorical device” regarding what some other people might think should happen to Ted Rall?
I immediately started drafting a satirical piece called “TED RALL MUST BE KILLED.” Much as Rall’s piece “took the point of view” of an Iraqi who wanted to kill American soldiers, my piece took the point of view of people so offended by Rall’s commentary that they might want to kill him. I thought that I made this point of view seem very rational indeed. I noted that Rall’s commentary (as exemplified by the cartoon and column mentioned above) not only appeared to be reflective of a fundamentally soulless and evil human being, but also amounted to something close to treason, by giving aid and comfort to the enemies of this nation.
The piece did not reflect my opinion, of course. It goes without saying that nobody deserves to be killed in this country, except murderers executed through due process of law. The First Amendment protects Rall’s right to be the unbelievably offensive asshole that he is. I began writing the piece simply to show that the use of an “inflammatory rhetorical device” can be so incredibly inappropriate as to be indefensible. The draft I began was, I thought, compelling in its verisimilitude. And I thought it made a pretty good point, about Rall’s outrageousness (unlike Rall’s piece, which — if not intended as a tract favoring killing our soldiers — is utterly inexplicable and pointless).
But I couldn’t finish it. Part of the problem is that I just can’t lower myself to Rall’s level, even for purposes of satire. Another part of the problem is that what I wrote didn’t come out funny — at all (kind of like Rall’s cartoons and columns). If there is a witty way to satirize views as repugnant as Rall’s, it will have to be done by someone far more clever than I. (Perhaps the inestimable Xrlq is up to the job; I’m not.)
So, no, I don’t wish death for Ted Rall, and I can’t even say so as a “joke.” But I would love to see his brand of thoughtless, offensive commentary die a slow and horrible death.
UPDATE: Here’s a guy who sounds like Ted Rall from the right — and he’s not even trying to be funny. Disturbing stuff.